May 2005 ARCHIVE


[Diocesian Bishop of Delhi-Bombay Diocese - Marthoma Church]

There was only one supreme mission for Jesus Christ in this world. That message of Christ was definitely his death. The brazen serpent was lifted up by Moses; so was Christ lifted up upon the cross in His crucifixion. He was exalted and glorified in the midst of the humiliation and rejection that He suffered. The hope of Christian faith is through death. When Jesus was crucified, He was lifted up from the earth, as an ensign of beacon so as to draw the eyes and the hearts of all men unto him.


And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. [John 12:20-28]

The cited scripture portion refers to a small group of gentile Greeks who sought to see Jesus, the king of kings. Bonhoeffer, a famous German Theologian had told about Jesus that, 'He had come to this world to die'. There was only one supreme mission for Jesus Christ in this world. That message of Christ was definitely his death. In the third chapter of Gospel according to St. John, we read that Nicodemus, a ruler and a scholar of the Jews, came to Jesus by night to interview Him concerning the great mysteries of the Gospel and enquired: what is His message and what is His role in the Salvation plan of God. Jesus explained him about the great design of his own coming into the world, alluding to Old Testament Scripture words; 'And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up' [O.T. Scripture Ref: Numbers 21:8]. The brazen serpent was lifted up by Moses; so was Christ lifted up upon the cross in His crucifixion. He was exalted and glorified in the midst of the humiliation and rejection that He suffered. Jesus himself spoke of crucifixion as glorification.

If we look through the life of Jesus in the depth of it's minuteness, we can observe the truth that His life had a well regulated composition. The incarnation had happened in the fullness of time as per the perfect plan of God. During the end of His public mission, the Passover feast and its arrangements were splendid and well sequenced. Further to this, His passion, trial, crucifixion, resurrection and all events were well synchronized and in a good order.

The story in this chapter is well balanced by giving an account of the events in the life of Jesus in a well-knitted sequence. Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John to the top of a high mountain apart and in His pomp and glory He was transfigured before them. Moses and Elias appeared to them and started conversing with Jesus. Those were the moments of great pleasure and satisfaction for those accompanied disciples as they took in the sight of Christ’s glory. Further in words 32 Jesus told; "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." The necessity of His death is here brightly expressed and crucifixion becomes the supreme message of Christ to draw all the men to Him. Jesus had totally surrendered to the plan and will of His father.

Though Jesus reached the house of Lazarus only after four days of his death, he talked of it; 'Our friend Lazarus is sleeping, but I will awaken him out of sleep'. But this delay of Jesus was for the glory of God and for the manifestation of God’s glorious power. Jesus called the death of a believer as a sleep. This is what Church teaches us about death. Lazarus was to be raised again from this sleep. Only those who believe that there is a morning of the next day, can think of sleeping. The death of a faithful is only a departure from this world. The hope of Christian faith is through death.

Again, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, about two miles outside the city of Jerusalem, to the house of His friends. He lodged there with his friend Lazarus, whom he had lately raised from the dead. They made a supper for him . Crowds of the Jews from Jerusalem rushed to Bethany, not only to see Jesus but also to see the arisen Lazarus. Mary did him honour, by anointing his feet with a pound of costly ointment of spikenard and dried His feet with her hair. Though Judas did not favour that act of Mary’s compliment, Jesus justified Mary considering the act as that she reserved this for the day of His burial. Though it was a celebration of expressing their gratitude to Jesus, this visit of Jesus to Bethany turned out to be a farewell visit; Jesus came to take leave of them, and to give them words of comfort against the day of trial and crucifixion that was fast approaching. Jesus who came to this world to die had chosen this death-house of his friend Lazarus to teach them about the depth and sharpness of death. Jesus had spoken openly to His disciples, saying, ‘I am going to die, be buried, and rise again after three days.’ Lord Jesus plainly proclaims here of His death. Jesus gave His final public teaching here to everyone in - Jews and Greeks alike.

Before concluding His public mission in this world, Jesus wanted to know how the people identified Him. When Jesus reached along with His disciples in the village of Caesarea Philippi, He questioned His disciples, asking them, "Who do people say that I am?" Caesarea Philippi was considered to be a centre of all kind of evils. The disciples told Him that some people see Him as John the Baptist, some as Elijah and some others as a new prophet. These vivid and strange answers might have definitely troubled Jesus' soul. Unsatisfied by these answers, Jesus continued by questioning them, "But who do you say that I am?" Jesus wanted to see whether his disciples themselves could identify Him truly. Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ, son of the Most High God". Jesus then looked towards Jerusalem and left that place. It was a journey from the city of evils to the city of holiness for the consummation of His glorification. Suffering and rejection sum up the whole cross of Jesus.

When Jesus found that his own people, his own relatives and his own villagers could not clearly involve Him or contemplate His true identity, He might have felt deeply concerned about it. This rejection might have been more painful than the crucifixion. Here we see there is a distinction between suffering and rejection. When our heart felt people reject us, isolate us or oppose us, we feel our heart broken. Our age in which we are living is an age of isolation. Though we are in a crowd, we feel isolated due to the dearth of love. Every man think only of himself or herself. We have many casual friends: but do we have real friends? Do we have anybody to whom we can open our mind? Do we have few with us to pray together in truth and spirit? This isolation causes a big loss in our life. Rejection is part of crucifixion. In spite of all this feeling of isolation and rejection we can see somebody who is very near to us. We can see somebody to whom we can share everything. That is Jesus. Yes, Jesus is our only unchanging friend. We can fully open our mind to Him, we can fully trust him, we can always rely upon him. Normally we choose our friends only from a group of good ones, but Jesus is not only looking for good but he is the friend of sinners also. Love of Jesus is beyond any condition. God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We cannot count the depth or breadth of the love of our Lord.

There is a story of a man named Jim. He was a man very much isolated. He did not have any friends. He went alone to the Church. Nobody was there to accompany him. Every day noontime he goes to church regularly. He did not know how to pray. He prayed only one sentence; 'Lord, Jim is here.' Once Jim became sick and admitted to the hospital. He did not have any friends or relatives to visit him on his sick bed. One day noontime Jim heard a mild voice; 'Jim, I am here'. He could not see anybody nearby. As it was the same time he regularly went to the Church and said his only prayer; 'Lord, I am here’, he could recognize the voice and knew that it was the revisit of his Lord to whom he talked daily. He pulled out a chair near him. Every body thought he is mad and asked him, 'who is your visitor?' He knew very well that it is Jesus. Jesus is the refuge to all those who are destitute and isolated. This teaches us that privacy much befriends our communion with God.

Who were these Greeks in this referred scripture portion? These Greeks were probably Gentiles who migrated from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter or they may be the Greek speaking Jews. They were the Greeks came to Jerusalem for worshiping at the festival. This is significant because we see the Gentiles, rather than Jews coming to see Jesus. They asked Andrews and Philip: Masters, we are interested to see Jesus. From the mode of salutation we can make out that they were scholars and distinguished. Greeks were normally considered as scholars. Fruitfulness of their education and intelligence were revealed through the wisdom and understanding they exposed to seek for the Lord. The honour given by these Greeks by enquiring after Him with a longing desire to see Jesus, signified the exaltation and glorification of Christ as the hour had come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

We observe a great difference in these Greek visitors from the Jews of Jesus' own country. Though Jesus was very near to them, the Jews could not contemplate who the Jesus is. 'He came unto his own, and his own received him not.' [John 1:11] The people of Israel were peculiarly His own above all people; of them he came, among them he lived, and to them he was first sent. The gentile Greeks were seeking for the same Jesus whom Jews have rejected.

By the honour given by heathens to Christ, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled. 'And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.' [Isaiah 11:10] The key to this prophecy speaks of Christ as the root of Jesse, or a branch out of his roots and accession of the Gentiles to His Kingdom of God is assured through son-ship. When Jesus was crucified, He was lifted up from the earth, as an ensign of beacon; he might draw the eyes and the hearts of all men unto him. The son-ship is the relation, which is inherited through faith. The mission of the believers is to make the way for all for the son-ship of God. The one who got the power is distributing the power to inherit the son-ship. Beyond any caste or creed, it is the great offer of God to come and acquire the son-ship. This is a great position and honour for which all are worthy and deserved. That is the great intention and plan of God.

One of the most prominent of the mental characteristics the ancient Greeks valued was their cleverness and national spirit. Other significant mental characteristics that the Greeks valued are faithfulness and loyalty. They were very dominant and authoritative in nature. They considered their culture and philosophies as great and distinguished. They were very proud of their intellectual might and never bothered to comprehend or realize any other nation or any other caste. They had little interest in the afterlife and most of the ancient Greeks believed that light and darkness are equal powers which try to compete with one another. Their myths and religion reflected these traits.

The viewpoints of ancient Jews were very much contrary to these. Jesus taught: 'Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.' [St. John 12:35] While Greeks gave importance to rational thinking, Jews gave importance for mystical thinking. Jews considered body, mind and soul are equally important in the life of human. The Sadducees and the Greek equally agreed in the theory that life ends with death and there is nothing beyond death. Their doctrines never opened any topic for the life after death. Jesus said that only those who prepare for the death have the chance for eternal life. Teachings of Jesus were revolutionary and opposing to the faith and doctrines they had for many years. Those who believe in life after death and faith in resurrection can have a hopeful and painless life in this world.

Jesus taught that the life becomes fruitful through the physical death. "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." [John 12:24] Jesus points here a sacramental negation. Whatever we loose in this world for the sake of our faith in Lord Jesus Christ is being invested for the eternal life. The eternal life is promised for those who believe in the son of God and inherit the son-ship in this world. Those who dedicate their life as a sweet savour to Lord, only can inherit the eternal life in the coming world. The sacrament of baptism and Eucharist reveal this same essence. Both reveal our partnership with Jesus Christ. The eternal life is not started after death, but essentially it commences in this life itself. "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3)

The incident of raising Lazarus was an incident laying axe to the root belief of the Greeks. This incident had opened the eyes of Greeks regarding their traditional faith prevailed for several centuries. This episode is well staged and well harmonized with exactitude of the original in the Gospel. On His arrival, the two sisters Martha and Maria lamented saying "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus appeased them assuring them that their brother will rise again. Martha replied Him out of their general faith by saying that she know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus, being the best teacher known to the world, had best made use these circumstances to teach them about the afterlife. He taught them that He himself is the resurrection and the life and he who believes in Him will live even if he dies. This everlasting declaration of Jesus had made the Greeks to seek for Him.

Today many had started seeking for Jesus. But many find difficulty to meet Jesus due to the unbelieving multitude around Him. We see in the scriptures at two places where the one who earnestly sought for Jesus found difficulty to see Jesus due to the largeness of the multitude around Him. Firstly, when Jesus lodged in a house in Capernaum, the four faithful who brought one sick of the palsy to Jesus could not reach that man to Jesus. Many were gathered together in this house so that there was no longer room, not even near the door. Secondly, Zacchaeus the chief among the publicans very much longed to see Jesus and he ran very fast through the street of Jericho and he was unable to see Jesus because of the huge crowd around Jesus. During the lunar eclipse the small moon come in between earth and sun and block the light of great sun and create small darkness for a while. If any body says 'Master, I would like to see Jesus', we should not become the stumbling block but we should be able to show Jesus to them in the true Gospel way.

The Gospel vision we received is for sharing with others as a part of our mission. As the believers of Christ, we are bound to proclaim the truth we had experienced. We should have the internal inspiration to do this. Others may not be coming to Jesus seeing the wrong ways of ours. We should exhibit our willingness to share our experiences with Jesus. The entire Church should lead the faithfuls for rejuvenation, repentance and a coming-back. All our small work for the establishment of the Kingdom of God will be counted as big in the eyes of Lord.

[Extract from Address delivered at Maramon Convention 2005 : Original in Malayalam]
Translation for LOL by: Dr. Rajan Mathew, Philadelphia, USA.
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The Son of God conquered death, sin, Satan, hell and the world and the door to eternal life is widely opened to all human beings who seek. Every believer’s life needs to be centered only on Jesus Christ. We need to be founded on the rock of Christ Jesus. We are called to live and die for Him and in Him. Every follower of our Master, is asked to try to become perfect like the Heavenly Father.

We, the Christian believers, do have large multitude of blessings and a wealth of benefits, privileges and rights through our savior, Christ the Lord. We are given the rights to become children of God the Father, the honor of becoming brothers, sisters and friends of Son of God and the gift of Holy Spirit who is pleased to dwell within us and be our counselor, comforter and helper. All our sins and transgressions are forgiven forever, the sins of the past, present and the future, through the sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The blood of the Lamb of God wipes out our guilt, death, condemnation and all sorts of curses.

Abundant life in this world and in eternity is guaranteed for every believer in Christ. All His followers are declared priests and saints, and citizens of kingdom of God. Provisions of justifications followed by continuous sanctification are offered to all believers in Jesus who is the one and the only mediator we have in heaven. On the day of resurrection all Christians who accepted and believed God’s simple and supreme plan of salvation through grace and faith, and carried out our Lord’s commandments will be given a glorious body like that of our Savior.

All true Christians of Jesus Christ do not have to follow man-made rules, rituals, external ceremonies, sacrifices, observances of certain days, months and years, festivals and traditions to please our Lord God. We are commanded to obey and follow only His teachings given to us in the word of God. In Jesus Christ we are dead to the Laws, and alive to do only good work for God’s glory. Jesus is the key to the treasury of blessings for Christians and they are abundantly disposed to us through the work of Holy Spirit. The freedom we have in Christ comes with restrictions and responsibilities. The laws of love and grace are given for us not to condemn us as sinners whenever we fail, but to help us in growing stronger. As Christians we live in a battlefield constantly fighting with our enemies who are Satan and his powers, the world and the flesh. But we are not alone in this fierce battle. Our mighty Lord has already conquered our enemies but the struggle will go on until the end of this world.

Let all Christians realize and recognize the abundant and glorious life we have in Jesus Christ. Let us always present our prayers and petitions, praises and worship to God in the blessed name of our Savior through the power and presence of the Spirit of God. Let us not forget to do intercessory prayers for all people who need to be brought in the eternal fold of the true Shepherd. Amen.

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Many Popes have altered the rules for the conduct of the gathering of the cardinals called the Conclave which elects the new Pope. Pope John Paul II had added to the many significant changes made by Pope Paul VI. Of these changes in procedure made by John Paul II one perhaps had very far reaching consequences even in this election perhaps is that Simple Majority may be sufficient in 2005 Conclave. Each and every step in the present system of electing the Pope has developed from differing experiences, situations, and circumstances down the centuries.

[Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents. He had read and written much about PAPAL ELECTIONS.]


Many Popes have altered the rules for the conduct of the gathering of the cardinals called the Conclave [con = with, clavis = key - that is, behind locked doors] which elects the new Pope. Pope John Paul II had added [Universi Dominici Gregis, Shepherd of the Lord's Whole Flock - 1996] to the many significant changes made by Pope Paul VI [1967, 1970, 1975]. Of these changes in procedure made by John Paul II one perhaps had very far reaching consequences even in this election perhaps.

Simple Majority may be sufficient in 2005 Conclave:

According to Pope Paul VI’s rules the winning candidate had to get two-thirds plus one votes of the number of cardinals present and voting. In John Paul’s rules the necessary number for election is only two- thirds (only if the total is not divisible by three it must be two-thirds plus one); but what is to the point: after 30-odd votings if still there is a deadlock and no one has obtained the necessary two thirds majority then the cardinals could decide to elect the person who secures a simple majority of fifty percent plus one. This means that if a cardinal gets 50% plus one at the beginning his supporters could simply sit out and wait for the 30th election to be over, when he could be elected with the same number of votes that he polled at the commencement of the election. The very much more comfortable beds and rooms which were made available to the cardinals this time could make such a waiting for many days feasible, which could not have been imagined in the previous elections where the cardinals were housed in hallways and corridors on folding cots with inadequate conveniences.

In fact when I visited the conclave area in and adjoining the Sistine Chapel in 1978 October, two days before the beginning of the last Conclave, as a specially selected representative of the 1300 odd accredited journalists (this time there were more than 4000) I found the accommodation provided for the cardinals much less satisfactory even than the amenities provided by the cheapest pensione. This time over, although the election took place in the Sistine Chapel, the cardinals lived in the five-story Domus Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican residence with 105 two-room suites and 26 single rooms, some thousand odd feet from the Apostolic Palace, built in 1996 by John Paul II, perhaps remembering the travails of the previous two elections of 1978 - the year of three Popes. The rooms, as in previous Conclaves, were allotted by lot. Last time the Cardinal from Krakow Karol Wojtyla got room number 91 in the Conclave area.

As a result of the present change in rules it was almost certain that a Cardinal with Pope John Paul II’s views was almost sure to be elected since out of the 117 Cardinals under 80 eligible to vote 114 were elevated to the post by John Paul II himself, most of whom reportedly with the same outlook as Pope John Paul II himself. It was my personal opinion that this part of the regulation will have much opposition in the coming days and most probably the next Pope will considerably dilute this clause so as to avoid hard-line stances, because as it is there is not much meaning for the two-thirds stipulation. Under these circumstances chances of Cardinals who had received much exposure during the final years of the last papacy and during the final ceremonies and who also have contacts and knowledge of languages on their side was sure to be considerable.

Secret, Top Secret:

Each and every step in the present system of electing the Pope has developed from differing experiences, situations, and circumstances down the centuries… and to study these developments is most interesting and quite rewarding.

In 1271 the 17 Cardinals started the election at Viterbo, 40 miles from Rome. On account of various external pressures they could not agree on a Pope for two years and a half. Finally the angry people intervened. They locked in the Cardinals and even closed all holes in the walls with bricks. They even punished the reluctant electors by taking off the roof of the building, subjecting the Cardinals to the wrath of nature. And they were even starved.

Finally the Cardinals arrived at a compromise: they elected a six member committee from among themselves to take a decision for them. Thus was elected blessed Gregory X. Naturally he was forced to begin the process of today’s secret conclave because of this experience. 700 years ago at Lyons were established the first Conclave rules. Many of the Popes, including John Paul II have made changes in these rules: “What leads me to take this step is awareness of the Church's changed situation today and the need to take into consideration the general revision of Canon Law which took place… While keeping in mind present-day requirements, I have been careful, in formulating the new discipline, not to depart in substance from the wise and venerable tradition already established” -JPII. John Paul II had forbidden the 2005 Conclave to elect a Pope by the Compromise or Committee method. Fortunately no 20th century papal election had lasted more than a week. Pius X was elected in a day. To elect Pope John XXIII the 51 Cardinals of his day took only three days. 111 Cardinals coming from the five continents found their leader in the Pope of the eternal smile John Paul I in a single day. John Paul II himself was elected in the seventh poll on the third day of the Conclave. Conclaves and the Sistine Chapel.

It was originally permitted to have the election anywhere. Elections have taken place in many different towns of France and Italy. It was Pope Clement the VII of the Medici family - the illegal son of a Medici - who ordered that all papal elections must take place in Rome. Now the elections must take place in the Vatican only. Though there was no objection to having the election anywhere in the Vatican the Cardinals have traditionally preferred the Sistine Chapel for the election. And they could not be blamed for that. If asked which is the most beautiful man-made space in the world many art lovers would not hesitate to reply “The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace”. Every square inch of this chapel - whether it is the ceiling, the walls, the floor…of this 136”x 48”x 86” structure depicts the works of the best known renaissance artists - Perugino, Ghirlandhao,..and of course Michelangelo. The great warrior Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the chapel with stars and traditional decorations. “Painting is not my trade”, said Michelangelo. “I am a sculptor. You may give this job to Raphael,” he said to the Pope. Finally he agreed to do the job so that he could get the commission to sculpt the marble tomb of the Pontiff. Michelangelo believed sculpture much superior to painting, and had many arguments with Da Vinci on the matter. Today the ceiling, some 86 feet above ground, is filled with the incomparable 5600 sq. ft. series called the Genesis or the Creation. After many years the altarpiece of the chapel, 2000 sq. ft., was also painted by Michelangelo himself - The Last Judgment. These four hundred years and more the Last Judgment has been attracting millions of art lovers every year from all over the world, and recently 400 years’ dust and soil were removed from the paintings to restore their original brilliance at the expense of hundreds of million dollars - and with the help of Japanese generosity.

No wonder John Paul II ordered the Conclave - the actual election of the Pope to take place under these paintings. “At the same time, in view of the sacredness of the act of election and thus the need for it to be carried out in an appropriate setting where, …and where, on the other, the electors can more easily dispose themselves to accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit, I decree that the election will continue to take place in the Sistine Chapel, where everything is conducive to an awareness of the presence of God, in whose sight each person will one day be judged.”

[This Article is to be continued in the Next Issue]

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Front-runners in first ballets in the previous elections and many expectants entered the cobbled courtyard behind St. Peter’s Basilica surrounded of with admirers and supporters in their posh cars. A solitary figure now approached gateway of Basilica on foot, looked lonely, tired, and crestfallen. To whom all looked contemptuously, came out as per the prophetic word; "He is the one chosen."

[Prof. George Menachery, a freelance Indian Journalist, had read and written much about PAPAL ELECTIONS. When he went to Rome as a free lancer for the October 1978 election where the conclave of Cardinals chose the present Pontiff His Holiness Pope John Paul II, he had merely wanted to experience at first hand the joy and excitement of a papal election as described in classics he had read many times over such as Morris West’s ‘SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN’, Irving Stone’s ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’, and Henry Morton Robinson’s ‘The Cardinal’. But his Roman holidays turned into a memorable adventure. Read about it here:]


The Cardinals were arriving one by one for the ‘Mass for the Election of the Pope’. They entered the cobbled courtyard behind St. Peter’s Basilica in huge cars and walked towards the special back door of the Basilica quite close to the main altar. After the Mass they would enter the Conclave (‘with key’) and proceed to elect behind locked doors the next spiritual leader of the crores-strong Catholic community of the world and the temporal head of the State of Vatican.

I was the only Indian among the 1300 press reporters from all over the world in Rome that October accredited by Archbishop Pancharoli’s Vatican Press Office. Of these 300 belonged to the English-speaking group. The Italian group was 320-strong; the French were 200 odd, and the Spanish/Portuguese 140. In addition there were more than 300 TV crewmembers. Apart from two or three selected TV teams only fourteen of the 1300 reporters who had arrived to report the papal elections were permitted to enter the Basilica for the function to report and to take exclusive photographs. Vatican accreditation was given to George Menachery by the Vatican Press Office.


These were selected by lot during the briefing sessions and I was extremely lucky to get one of those fourteen coveted cards. Some well-known magazines and papers from the United States and France were willing to pay huge amounts for this card. In fact some of the fourteen photographers present now at the Basilica door represented the most famous magazines and newspapers of the world, having procured the cards from the original lucky winners paying quite hefty sums.

One of the very first to arrive to attend that crucial function before the all-important Conclave locked its doors against the outside world was Lawrence Cardinal Picachy of Calcutta. As he got down from the huge car on to the vast brick-paved yard and proceeded towards the Basilica my Minolta flashed twice or thrice. One or two other pressmen also photographed the Cardinal from India, I noticed with pleasure.

It was with a huge coterie of admirers and followers that Cardinal Siri arrived. So also Cardinal Benelli. Both were front-runners in the first ballots in the previous election and one of these two was expected to come out of the Conclave as the new Pope. Hence the Photographers vied with each other in taking their pictures. I also took one each. But I was now mainly waiting for the arrival of Cardinal Parecattil of Ernakulam, ‘my Cardinal’. Then came Cardinal Rossi of Propaganda in the company of Archbishop Lourdusamy (now a Cardinal). They talked serious business for a while before the Cardinal entered the Basilica and Lourdusamy went back. I didn’t forget to snap the duo.


But now the sound of music from inside the Basilica was growing louder and louder. Like the Wedding-guest in Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’ I had to still reluctantly tarry waiting for my Cardinal to arrive. There was still no sign of his car. Most of my fellow photographers were preparing to enter the church to cover the Mass and the decisive guide-line speech to the Cardinals. It was then that I noticed a solitary figure in red approaching from the huge gateway. This Cardinal looked lonely, tired, and crestfallen, yet somehow upholding the dignity of a prince of the Church. He alone among all the Cardinals arrived on foot, walking hurriedly towards the Basilica. No camera aimed to take his picture coming as he was without benefit of admirers and supporters. One or two of the big-time photographers from the US were looking at this pitiable figure almost it seemed contemptuously. “There are lots of unused frames in my Minolta. I need only a few more to cover Cardinal Parecattil. So why not snap him, whom nobody appears to care for?”, I thought. And so I took a photo of this lonely man. He raised his head in some surprise, and went in silently. Soon afterwards Cardinal Parecattil came from the gianicolo hospital where he was staying, smiled at me, and went in, the very last Cardinal to enter the Basilica.

With thousands I stood in the Piazza San Petro between the colossal columns of Bernini near his fountain and the huge obelisk in the Vatican looking at the thin pipe raising its head to the left of Michelangelo’s mammoth dome from the famous fresco-adorned Sistine Chapel to see whether it would spit white smoke this time, fifty-six long hours and seven ballots after the Cardinals had been locked up inside to elect one, most probably from among themselves, as the new successor of St. Peter. Two days back I had the rarest of privileges to study the arrangements in the conclave area as the goddess of fortune had given me one of the sixty cards distributed by lot among the 1300 journalists to inspect the secrets of the Conclave. I was especially attracted to the pepper containers on the table of each cardinal who will be attending the Conclave. I told fellow journalists how two millennia back 100s of 1000s of gold coins minted by Caesar Augustus who forced pregnant Mary to travel all the way to Bethlehem, Tiberius Caesar the master of Pontius Pilate, and the ‘fiddling’ Nero had found their way into distant Kerala in exchange for Kerala’s pepper and pearls and how Alaric the Goth had asked for 3000 pounds of Indian pepper as ransom to free the Senate Fathers of Rome. From the stoves arranged to burn straw and chemicals to produce the white and black smoke I put some coal pieces into my coat pocket as mementos of this historic visit to the Conclave area.

Now, standing in the St. Peter’s square or piazza I looked at the balcony of the Basilica to test my newly bought binoculars. Some days back I had gone up to the roof of the basilica to examine the marvels of its architecture. As a student and teacher of art and Architecture this exercise has always given me immense pleasure. On this occasion however I had another motive also. I had always wanted to touch the thin white pipe that would inform the world the election or non-election of a Pope. So with the intention of touching the pipe I approached it. But many wooden barricades had been erected to prevent just such an attempt. While I proceeded towards the pipe disregarding the barricades I could see from the corner of my eye a policeman coming towards me to prevent my proceeding further. Pretending not to see the arm of the law coming nearer and nearer and now shouting something very loud, I walked quickly to the pipe and touched it. Turning around I saw the furious policeman who immediately caught hold of my arms. I innocently asked him in Malayalam what the matter was. He shouted again. I repeated my question in Malayalam again. Then in broken - very broken - English I told him I could not understand what he was saying. In despair he brought me out beyond the mobile barricades and pushed me in the direction of the staircase and shouted something like GOOOO! That was a week ago.

Now I was standing in the square or piazza looking at the balcony of the Basilica and the Sistine roof. Suddenly the tip of the pipe began to spit white smoke. The crowd began a deafening non-stop shout “Bianca! Bianca!” It’s white, it’s white. “We Have a New Pope! We Have a New Pope!” Tens of thousands were soon concentrating their attention on the balcony where the new Pope’s name would be announced and where the Pope himself would eventually appear. But within twenty-four minutes of the election of the Pope Osservatore Romano the official organ of the Vatican came out at 6.43 p.m. carrying a half-page picture of the new Pope. I bought a copy from the boy selling the paper like hot cakes among the crowd to see who had been finally elected. To my surprise I saw the lonely hero of my photograph keenly looking at me from the front page. He was the new Pope. But I didn’t know until then the name or country of Karol Joseph Woyitila. Even when Cardinal Felici announced the name in sonorous Latin very few in the crowd could recognize it. Once again the Italian adage was proved true: “He who goes into the Conclave Pope comes out Cardinal” - and the last and very least became the first, a Pole, a non-Italian in 400 years, that too from the underground of a communist country - from the fourth world, so to say - as had happened to Anthony Quinn as Kiril Cardinal Lakota in the Holywood version of The Shoes of the Fisherman.

The huge lamps of the Vatican Palace and the Propaganda College started to flood the St. Peter’s Square, together with the huge Roman moon lighting up the whole area and converting night into day. By this time the crowd had swelled to some two hundred thousand souls filling the whole square and the Via De La Conciliazione up to river Tiber. It was another half an hour before the Pope appeared on the balcony to give his blessing Urbi et Orbi - to the City and to the World. Before giving that Latin blessing he talked to the people in simple Italian - to their great delight and to the displeasure of the Curia officials. ‘Viva il Papa’ Long Live the Pope, the crowd shouted again and again. ‘ Polonnia! Polonnia!’ Poland, Poland. Bearing witness to the birth of a new era the bells in the four hundred churches of Rome began to ring, led by the eleven ton Kanchenone of the St. Peter’s Basilica.

When I came to see Cardinal Parecattil once again at the hospital Gianicolo where he used to stay when in Rome I showed him the pictures I had taken. Of himself, Lourdsamy, Picachy and the new Pope as they were arriving at the courtyard entrance of the basilica. He couldn’t believe that I had taken a picture of the Pope before the election, because nobody thought he would be elected.

It was in a way my visit to Cardinal Parecattil at Ernakulam to bid him bon voyage that was the occasion for my deciding to go to Rome. Bishop Sebastian Mankuzhikkary who knew the Cardinal’s affection for me jokingly said to me then, ‘Are you not going with the Cardinal to Rome?’ I replied, ‘ I will go if he takes me with him.’ Of course the picture of many cardinals during previous elections taking an assistant with them came to my mind - that was not possible now after Pope Paul the Sixth had forbidden the custom in his directions for the papal election. After the departure of the Cardinal to the airport on his way to Rome for the election I brooded over the possibility of going to Rome for the election. I had read up so much on the election for many, many years that my desire to be in Rome during an election had become something of an obsession with me. This was my last chance, I thought.

Fortunately for me the largest circulated daily of Kerala and India agreed to part finance my expenses and what is more to publish my reports from the Vatican - if in fact they reached India in time - chances for which were quite nonexistent in those days. When I told Bishop Kundukulam of Trichur and others the same day about my desire they all encouraged me very much in this matter. And so I arrived in Rome just two days after the Cardinal’s arrival, which itself was a miracle - what with visa regulations, reservation hitches and what not. He was very glad to see me there. I was able to meet him there often and learn about the discussions among the Cardinals about the forthcoming election. Cardinal Picachy and Archbishop Lourdusamy also talked to me often. It all helped me to send relevant reports to India.

After meeting every Cardinal individually and after meeting the heads and representatives of the various countries who had arrived to congratulate the new Pope His Holiness gave an audience to the Press on the eve of the “Coronation”, to which not only the 1300 journalists with Vatican’s accreditation but many more were invited. While waiting at the bottom of the Great Staircase leading to the hall in the Vatican Palace where the audience was to take place somebody who appeared to know me told me from behind to proceed. I didn’t know why I should try to go before the others. Any way I tried. But the two Swiss Guards stopped me with their extended spears. Picp& +caption Dejected, I climbed down the steps. Then somebody from the Oriental Congregation appeared from behind the Swiss Guards from near the audience hall and beckoned me. Though the guards protested at first finally they allowed me to go up, also possibly because they were amused at my timidity.

When I entered the hall many seats were already taken by officials and so on. The bearded official from the Congregation was leading me in when a Rev. Sr. took me under her charge and led me to the benches. She sat at the aisle end of one bench. When I tried to take the seat by her side she asked me to take the seat behind her. At that time I took it as an insult. (My 1972 experiences of segregationist attitude in the New York Sub-Way were only too strong in my mind.) But she only smiled. She was the official on Radio Vatican who was in charge of all the Polish programmes, and as such was very familiar with the new Pope as he used to give many talks to his people in communist Poland over Radio Vatican. She was a close friend and room-mate or something of the Rev. Sister in charge of the Indian programmes and hence had seen me often at the Radio Station. That was why she took me under her charge.

When the Pope finally came into the hall and was proceeding to the rostrum he looked in our direction, and seeing the Polish nun came towards us. He came and stood in front of us and began to talk to the Rev. Sr. Although the well-built ecclesiastic who was the Pope’s body guard tried to prevent it I shook hands with the Pontiff. The Sr. whispered to me, “Say something to the Pope, you may never get such a chance in your whole life.” I gathered all my courage, and in spite of the tough body guard’s piercing looks, asked the Pope:” Your predecessor Pope Paul the Sixth did not come to Kerala when he came to India, though there is an Apostolic Church there. Will Your Holiness visit Kerala?” I completed the question somehow. I do not know whether the Holy Father heard or understood me fully. But he replied in perfect English, “Why Not?” That was quite enough for me, and for the body-guard too I suppose because he whisked the Pope away towards the rostrum with all his might.

After that the next day’s Mass for the Commencement of the Ministry and “Coronation” - the term is no more used and the three tiered crown is no more seen - was not such a great treat though it was pleasant to watch the whole function on the steps of the Basilica’s facade from the vantage point of the balconies over the Bernini columns in the company of great journalists from the world over.

Why was Cardinal Woitila so late that day on which the Conclave began? Why was he so tired-looking? These questions troubled my mind often in the next several years whenever I looked at the rare Photo that I had published in some papers and at the Vatican accreditation card and all those other rare and wonderful press cards I was lucky to draw.

Then I went to Rome once again in 1985. I had an appointment with the chief of the Vatican Museums. I had persuaded him to allow me to take the photographs of the hundred odd statues of almost all the popular Hindu Gods and Goddesses that the ethnological museum possessed for my Indology volume (i.e. of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India). Such an exhaustive collection I hadn’t seen in India even. But when I arrived in the museum for the final sanction the director was absent. However he had made arrangements for me to meet his assistant Msgr. Pankowiski, who was from Poland. To curry favor with him I told him that I had organised much of the Malankara Golden Jubilee Exhibition at Kottayam in 1980 that was inaugurated by the Polish Cardinal Rubin, and a large picture of the Polish Cardinal had been displayed by us in the exhibition hall which is today the home of the St. Ephraem Ecumenical Research Institute. Then I told him jokingly that I was the only journalist who knew a Pole would be elected to the Holy See, and I told him the story of the late-coming Cardinal Woitiva and my taking his photo. The asst. director jumped up from his seat and told me the following interesting story breathlessly gesticulating and standing all the time.

“Do you know why he was late that day?” I said I did not know. Then he said: “ You know he is a great devotee of the blessed Virgin Mary, like most of us Poles.”

That was quite true. Most Poles gift you pictures of our lady of Chestochowa, as the Rev. Sr. from radio Vatican had done when we met during the Papal audience for journalists.” Almost the whole weekend before the commencement of the Conclave ( the Msgr. continued) the cardinal was away at the Mountain Shrine of Mary at Mentorella, praying for the Church to get a Good Shepherd at the election. On the morning of the Conclave after the prayers he stood talking to a Polish monk there for a few minutes. So when he came to the valley climbing down two miles the only bus to Rome had already gone. Rome was far away and he had to reach Rome before the doors of the Conclave were locked. Then he got a bus but it broke down some thirty miles away from Rome. (Cardinal Woitiva travelled only by bus, and always wore only tattered old black clothes.) There was no other bus. As directed by a sympathetic villager he approached the driver of an unused bus who was on holiday and told him his plight. The driver felt pity for the Cardinal and took him to the Vatican, the Msgr. concluded. Now I understood why he was late that morning and also why he looked so tired and depressed. Only then did I understand the reason why the Pope soon after his election flew to Mentorella in a helicopter (not in a bus this time!) to venerate the little wooden statue of Mary there.

That journey was the prologue to the new Pope’s many journeys to destinations beyond the Vatican and Rome, even to the ends of the world.

[In prayerful and respectful memory of Holy Father Mar Pope John Paul II, this Article is being republished.]
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Accusation is the mask that we use at all times to escape from the effects of our misdoings. Man being at the top of the ladder of creation, enjoys by predating upon all other God’s creations that are subordinate to him. Our body is the temple of God and man has no right to destroy God’s temple. God has thrown a number of probabilities for each situation to be worked out for the appropriate outcomes. The trigger is in our hands to operate. There is always freedom of choice with God, but not with the Devil.

The writing of the fate of a person allegedly on the fore head, before one’s birth, by God is called predestination. “As flies to the wanton boys, are we to gods for their sports with us” (Shakespeare). It is a human tendency to blame others at the time when we are tossed and buffeted by the inhuman and unfathomable heights of sufferings, just as Adam accused Eve and she, in turn, transferred the responsibility to the serpent. Finding fault with others and shirk off our duty is a sibling to our race. This is the reason for many philanthropists to withdraw to the pavilion of cynicism, as they are molested with the spiraling exponents of ingratitude from the people who received multiple types of help and service. Accusation is the mask that we use at all times to escape from the effects of our misdoings. God created the eco system that also works as an inevitable complementing partner/sibling all along our sojourn life. We cannot survive without pure air and water, the basic sustainer of the breath of life. We pollute such life giving ingredients indiscriminately for satisfying our gross greed, and blame others for the human sufferings. Man is the only animal that prefers death to life, while all other animals flee away from it. The reason that we may attribute is that man at times is a maniac that doesn’t bother to give any glory to his Creator, as well as His creations that are planted here only for his mutual survival here. Man cannot live here without the infrastructure of the ecosystem that supports each individual human being in his reciprocating functions. For example, global warming or global dimming can wipe out our race from here. Man being at the top of the ladder of creation, enjoys by predating upon all other God’s creations that are subordinate to him.

Man’s body is also a derivative of the Nature’s legacy. While man lives at the mercy of an environmentally friendly eco system and his Creator, he encroaches upon both by polluting Nature and polluting God’s spark of breath by which he is being anointed as the monarch of this planet. Whenever man faces the crudities of life, blaming the Almighty is his only safety valve; on the pretext that man is only a puppet of God. We pretend that we cannot go against what God has written or drawn on our head at the time of our moulding. It is an assumed reality for some people that we are created on a set formula that goes back to the theory of reincarnation, emphasizing the theory of God’s punishment on the basis of our sins or crimes that we enthralled in our previous life or chain of lives. We don’t take any responsibility for our failures and misdoings, do we? Man has no right to destroy God’s temple (1.Cor.3: 16-17), a frame for God to dwell in us, or the eco system that is exclusively meant for his deluxe life on this globe. When he finds no way of eluding from his profligate life style, his suicidal death that exports him to the land of silence where there is none to console his maladies is the only remedy that he can resort to.

Man is the architect of his own destiny because he is created in the image and likeness of God. Man’s limitation of not able to interfere with others is also a part of God’s limitation of not capable of changing the free will that He once bestowed upon His creature. The spark of God’s breath at the time of conception is apparently the same for everyone, but may be in different lows and heights, whereas the spirit of genetics also plays a significant role in every individual (Exo.20: 5-6). The role of genetics, to some extent, is outside the realm of God’s territory because everyone has given the choice of free will, the land where God doesn’t interfere at all. The genetic code can be decoded by the application of Divine ethical code, yet the genetic influence is inherent in one’s formative life. He is a God of Justice and Righteousness, the primordial essence of love that always flows from Him. “Liberty of thought is the life of the soul”. Despite God has a foreknowledge of man and all other fauna and flora and the microcosm, He won’t fiddle with man’s will or freedom, a set pre-condition, as He respects His own image and likeness. It is the assigned duty of man to respect his own body, also his soul, and the brethren and the ecosystem that has been meant only for his survival, and not for vandalizing. Once when he plays up with them, he has to commiserate it only by the weapons of tears and compensation. The technology of recycling the system to return to normalcy, both for man and Nature are already imbedded in His creations -Ps.148: 6. Predestinating man into the coterie of God’s justice system is an abhorrent challenge against God, as He doesn’t want puppets to be imported into His Kingdom. Adam’s older brother Lucifer also once enjoyed the freedom of rebelling against God, so also there is a choice for us either to go into His abode or in Hades by enjoying full liberty of eating the forbidden fruit or fighting against in defeating His and our adversary.

God blessed King Solomon, but God is not responsible for his doom at the evening of his life. He chose his own fate by evil association. The pre-knowledge about Esau (Gen. 25: 23) was not a pre-condition for him to eat the pottage after selling his birth right-Gen.25: 29-34. The treasure of birth right was sold for a meal, just as some people change their faith for material benefits. God didn’t discriminate between Cain and Abel, but the older one incurred the displeasure as he brought an offering of the fruit of the ground, not a blood sacrifice, the precursor of His sacrifice on Calvary, while sin was couching at the door. The death of Uzza who put out his hand to hold the ark of God occurred by his own fault; a God who can nurture and care all His creations could save the ark from falling (2.Sam.6: 6-8). But consecrating prophet Jeremiah at the womb was not a fabrication; it proved well for the declaration of God’s glory. Despite both St.Peter and Judas betrayed their Lord, Jesus didn’t forsake the former on the basis of his tears, unlike the villainous weakling. Self-betrayal is a time bomb that can explode at any time for one’s peril.

The Omniscient God’s pre-knowledge about a person or the future events cannot be construed as predestination. God has thrown a number of probabilities for each situation to be worked out for the appropriate outcomes. The trigger is in our hands to operate. Any action will have a suitable slot to go into, depending on what course of action we choose. Adam was not a puppet of God; he had the choice of either eating or not eating the gall fruit. Hadn’t he eaten it, God surely might have had multiples of options in replenishing the planet with a different species of celestials. He gave the same test of ‘ obedience’ to Adam, just as what He gave to Lucifer. The rebellion of Lucifer made him as the monarch of the land of Darkness, the disobedience of Adam evicted him to the region of thorns and prickles. Adam was reaping the beauty of Paradise till Eve’s creation and subsequent fall. God might have been stellar miles away when Eve plucked the fruit for tasting it. Take it for granted that neither Adam nor Eve nor the serpent blamed God for the tragedy; they blamed each other, and not God.

Just as God gave the commandment to Adam, Jesus rebuked His disciples number of times for scavenging over the lordship over others. He gave enough warnings to Judas that he was bridled as a puppet of Satan-Jn.6: 70. Moreover, He warned that he was going to betray His Guru. Jesus knew that the money he received to betray Him to the hierarchy was in his pocket. The Savior’s fore- knowledge about the impending tragedy made Him to remind His cashier-Jn.13: 18-, “ It would have been better for that man if he had not born” -Mt.26: 24. The number of such foreknowledge apprehensions didn’t convert Judas to evade from the doom of his soul, eventually body, too. Satan entered into him as soon as he ate the bread, Body of Christ, without any remorse or repentance - Jn.13: 27. There is freedom of choice with God, but not with the Devil. “ I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him...” -Deu.30: 19-20. Let no one say that I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire -Jas.1: 12-15; 4: 7; Mica.6: 8; Rom.11: 20- 22. Judas became a property of Satan as soon as he entered into him. Despite he wanted to repent after Christ was taken into the custody of the hierarchy, God was helpless because he chose what he wanted. It became impossible for Judas to get out of the hand of the prince of perdition. The contrition of the betrayer that turned into self- pitying forced the devil to translate his life that which is suitable for the land of the furnace, a great victory for the enemy of God. A whole life is given therefore to everyone to choose between the predator and the Comforter, so that the Creator can wash of His hand sobbingly, just like a father half- heartedly say goodbye to the coffin of the fate of his child.

God’s pre-knowledge can be altered by repentance. Despite God set a date for king Hezekiah to die, He changed the date by his plea- Is.38. Fire would have consumed Nineveh if they hadn’t repented by Jonah’s preaching. We don’t know the fate of the preacher, like that of Solomon, because he grumbled against God for restoring Nineveh to flourish, so also is the fate of the brother of the prodigal son. Self- righteousness and self-complacency are dangerous time bombs that can tick at any time. Mediocrity is an abomination to God; repenting extremes has a fruitful outcome, as God loves the sinner. The betrayal of our conscience becomes a poisoned chalice that works out our fate. Righteousness of God.

God is not a respecter of persons. He governs mankind and ecology by a code of universal ethics that cannot be altered. The recycling for normalcy of a derailed system is also part of that natural law. If justice is not His moral code, He is likely to falter and collapse. Even angels are also huddled into this justice system. If they rebel against, there ought to be a norm for punishment that banishes them from His satellite system. The same scale likely governs angels, as well as man. The celestials and terrestrials are constrained by the same weapon of dealing against His infernal enemy -jas.4: 6-8. We are not permitted to fight against Satan by his own weapon of seven vices, so also are in the case of angels. “ But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed against the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgement upon him, but said, ‘The lord rebuke you’” -Jude.8-9; Zech.3. The birth of savages was by a heterogeneous union of sons of God and daughters of men-Gen.6. God allowed a lion to kill His own prophet on account of disobeying and eating food contrary to God’s forewarning -1.King.13. Look at the fall of Saul, the first king of Israel. God does such things because He rules the whole universe by the same code of ethics -Rom.3: 4-7. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waste, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins-Is.11: 3-7. In righteousness he judges and makes war-Rev.19: 11. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth-Ps.96: 13.

Accusing God for predestinating man takes him to the fringes of mortal sin. Life and universe is a mystery that declares the glory of Heaven. Accusing God by His glorious creation is an unpardonable sin that invites retribution and unimaginable consequences. “ We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,....and were destroyed by the Destroyer.....No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure”-1.Cor.10: 8-13. The fallen state of man is automatically the terrain of multifold sufferings, the author of which is the Dark forces. In order to resuscitate man from his degradation our Lord bore our nature to be crucified by the diabolic forces -Rom.11: 20-23; 1>Pet.1: 17; 2: 5. He nailed him on the cross and bought salvation for us with a high price -Jn.16: 33, yet how ungrateful we are in blaming and accusing Him, despite He gave His Body and Blood to us for our continuing war against the prince of perdition. “ For God shows no partiality”- Rom.2: 11. Even if we accuse Him for showing seeming partiality, He has enough justifications for it- Rom.8: 29-30. “ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?”-Rom.9: 21-24. We have no other choice but only respect His decision because both are parts of life. He has also the right to give more rewards to the one that has been chosen for menial use. Instead of realizing the naked reality of our ephemeral existence we accuse and charge God for what He is not. “ Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before thee” -Ps.89: 14. Ingratitude! Thy name is man.

Man can never feel perfect happiness in his fallen state because there is an inherent imperfection in our existence here. What do we miss here? The deficiency of celestial happiness is a fact for this anemia. That which is lost can be regained only by the sublimation of our ego that we inherited from our older brother Lucifer. No meaning in blaming God for our weakness of inheriting the devilish darkness by eating the forbidden fruit. God meant everything for the good of man, but Eve’s ambition of playing the role of God severed us from the perpetual bliss, yet it can drive us further to the point of its nadir, unless we try earnestly crave to reach the zenith by this life time that how long it may last is so uncertain and unpredictable. Both Lucifer and man are created for one thing; do it and reach at the highest point from where that we started long time back. He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honours me; to him who orders his way aright I will show the salvation of God-Ps.50: 23. But one person asked me,” Is it not the ego of God that He wants praise and glory from us”? He assumes that Lucifer and man inherited the same ego from the Creator, for which the creations cannot be blamed. Thus man accuses God for our sufferings, just as the Israelites who were liberated from the brutal slavery under the Pharaohs rose in rebellion against the Liberator, while they were facing the natural hardships of a desert life. God’s love and mercy is greater than that of the 6 billion lives that is oblivious to our intellect. Has the creation any right to question and challenge the Creator? But do we like to entertain this sort of continual complaints and grumbling from our children, who enjoy all types of happiness from us without any cost or responsibility, yet they cherish the view that they are the products of our wanton nuptial gymnastics. Experience the love of God who cares 6 billion of us, nurture and protects us in His enemy’s territory that we created by our disobedience, despite we curse Him, ignores Him and hurls abuses at Him incessantly.

There are so many questions that don’t have an answer for us here. But experience has taught us that blind faith that only can give some equilibrium to our miseries of this life, than disobeying God and reaping the atrocious punishments that come as a byproduct of challenging our Creator. “ I f you will keep his statutes and heed to his commandments, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; I am the Lord, your healer”-Exo.15: 26. If we accept the Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, there is a chance for us to be within the vicinity of His presence. “ If a man sins against a man, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him? -1.Sam.2: 25. Accusing God for fatalism and live as a slave of darkness is an abominable sin that invites accusation by God for one’s cultivation of ungrateful lethargy and indolence. Yet there are commingling factors of natural, supernatural and mysterious truths play behind, it is an open secret that we dig our own grave. While fatalism was the tragic ethos of ancient Greek philosophy, the tenet of ‘ character is destiny’ has been the vibrant keynote of Christian spirituality and ethics.

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Perfection which is nothing less than the perfection of God is not acceptable to God. God is father to all the people in the world, and it is natural for children to accept their father as their role model. The most remarkable sign of perfection is absolute love. The fruit we need to bear in our lives are good deeds. Any action that springs out of love is good; anything that springs out of the lack of love is evil.

“Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” This one sentence seems to be the summary of all that Jesus taught. It is placed by Matthew at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount, the three chapters in the Book of Matthew that summarize the major teachings of Jesus on the Kingdom of God.

Jesus here places the ultimate standard for morality - perfection which is nothing less than the perfection of God. Can there be a greater standard than this?

Jesus places before us the ultimate goal of life - be perfect as God. How can there be a greater goal than this? All the short-term goals should serve as stepping stones to attain this ultimate goal.

Why should people accept this as their ultimate goal in life? Jesus argues that God is father to all the people in the world, and it is natural for children to accept their father as their role model.

What are the signs of perfection? The one most remarkable sign of perfection in Jesus’ view is absolute love. God loves all people irrespective of how they treat God. God loves even those who hate Him in return. Jesus challenges us to attain that kind of perfection - the ability to love even those who hate us.

The other religious teachers of Jesus’ time couldn’t ask people to be like God because the God they presented couldn’t be a role model to people. A king in a kingdom is usually above the rules in that kingdom. The rules that apply to the ordinary citizens wouldn’t be applicable to a king. Thus a king has the freedom to disregard the rules, and be and do whatever that pleases him. The Pharisees at Jesus’ time presented God as a king, who demands absolute obedience from the people. People have no option but to obey God. If someone chooses to disobey, he/she will have to face the wrath of God. How can such a God be a role-model to people?

Moreover, the Pharisees at Jesus’ time presented God as having partiality. God exhibits special affection for a group of people - the chosen people of God. They gained this special place of privilege not because of their merit but because of the faith of their forefather, Abraham. This belief might have given them a sense of worth. However, this belief did more harm than good. It encouraged communalism. It made them look down upon others. Also it made them irresponsible. This is what made John the Baptist say, “Don’t say in your mind, ‘We have Abraham as our father’.”

Although John, the Baptist, was against the communalism of the Pharisees, he himself couldn’t ask people to accept God as their role-model. He compared God to a farmer, and people to the plants in God’s farm. Plants do not have an option but to bear fruit. If they do not, they will be cut down and burned. The fruit we need to bear in our lives are good deeds. However, John, the Baptist, couldn’t set a criterion to distinguish between what deed is good and what is not. In his view, God’s morality is radically different from ours. God has the freedom to burn the evil-doers, but we don’t.

This is the context in which Jesus steps in and presents a new analogy of God: as father. Others might have used this analogy, but it is Jesus who worked out its implications fully.

Jesus uses the analogy of a family to speak of the relationship between God and human beings. The prevalent analogy in Jesus’ time was that of a kingdom, in which God is like a king, and the people in the world are his subjects. Jesus perhaps accepted both analogies, but in a different way. God is a father to all the human beings, but a king to all the nonhuman beings. Human beings have the freedom to disobey God, but the nonhuman beings do not have that freedom. The father in the story of the prodigal son is a father to his sons, but a master to his servants. The sons in that story have the freedom to disobey and leave their father, but the servants do not have that freedom.

Using this analogy, Jesus could easily distinguish between good and evil. Jesus placed love as the criterion. God is perfect, and He loves even those who hate Him. Be perfect as God, your heavenly father, and love those who hate you. Any action that springs out of love is good; anything that springs out of the lack of love is evil. That is why Jesus summarized the ten commandments into the two laws of love: Love your God wholeheartedly, and love your fellow beings as you love yourselves.

Jesus raises the humanity to the level of God. The moral standards for God and human beings are not different any more. And he places before us the ultimate goal in life as well as the ultimate standard of morality.

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The healthy robust figure of the mountain-climbing, kayak-rowing, play-acting, quarry-working Karol Joseph Cardinal Woyityla had impressed me immensely then in October 1978. Ever since he was admitted to the Gemelli Hospital at the beginning of February 2005 the BBC and the CNN - as well as other channels - had been giving a large amount of space to Pope John Paul II.

This Pope-Watcher is struck by the contrast between the Pope when he was elected in 1978 and the pitiable yet unyielding John Paul II as he came through in TV clippings towards the end of his life.

The healthy robust figure of the mountain-climbing, kayak-rowing, play-acting, quarry-working Karol Joseph Cardinal Woyityla had impressed me immensely then in October 1978, both on the day the conclave started [Oct. 14.] and on the day he was elected Pope [Oct.16] and finally and especially on the day of the commencement of his ministry [Oct.22] and also in the following days and years.

Ever since he was admitted to the Gemelli Hospital at the beginning of February 2005 the BBC and the CNN - as well as other channels - had been giving a large amount of space to Pope John Paul II. The scene shown a few days before his demise where the doves refused to leave the pontiff alone in his room, and the scene broadcast again and again by the channel where the frail pontiff blesses the cardinals and the people with great difficulty naturally reminds one of the contrast between the John Paul II of 1978 and of recent months. These scenes brought to my memory the Pope energetically and enthusiastically parading the thirty-two steps of the portico of the St. Peter’s Basilica in 1978, lightly carrying the heavy [ten pounds] cross of the universal shepherd during the ceremonny for the commencement of his papal ministry when he was elected Pope at the age of fiftysix.

However the Pope’s refusal to surrender to sickness or death without a fight is a very miracle that exhibits his pro-life attitude much more strongly than his remarkably strong words and encyclicals, his books and articles.

To tell others how to suffer is easy enough, but John Paul showed in his life how one could convert suffering forming part of doing one's duty into a real joy - and how a Christian aught to suffer until the very end in a spirit of serenity and gladness. Hours before his death the youth of Rome and the world were singing and praying for the pope in the St. Peter’s square. The Pope told the cardinal who was visiting him, “All my life I was searching and seeking for the young people. Now they have come searching for me.”. The days and years the Pope had spent in the company of the youth - singing, dancing, kayaking, skiing, ...he was showing that his hope for the Church was in the youth. And at the end the youth showed how they took him for a real companion and a friend and guide.

Again , hours before his death he summoned all the rev. sisters who were in the service of the papal household. And he admonished them saying “There must be no tears”. And the lakhs and lakhs of people who assembled in the Square during the last days of John Paul and during the burial services often danced and sang and clapped their hands - so much so Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) had a hell of a time trying to complete his funeral oration, as we all saw. It was a living demonstration for John Donne's poem "Death be not proud", who's afraid of you.

The huge crowd of heads of states (a president and two ex-presidents of the US among them) who attended the funeral ceremonies were doing so not simply due to poitical custom, but because they felt here indeed was a person who was larger than life.

[For some of the changes made by John Paul II in the secret election processes at the Vatican you might go through another article which I am sending separately.]

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Pampadi Kuriakose Mar Gregorios was effectively an uncanonised saint of Malankara Church who had been a simple and humble priest of the Most High Lord of Heaven and a man of great faith who possessed the spiritual gift of love. He shared his spiritual gifts of love and kindness to countless numbers of people around him from all religious and social sects.


Pampadi Kuriakose Mar Gregorios was effectively an un-canonized saint of Malankara Church who had been a simple and humble priest of the Most High Lord of Heaven and a man of great faith who possessed the spiritual gift of love. He shared his spiritual gifts of love and kindness to countless numbers of people around him from all religious and social sects. Though he was not attributed or claimed for building big churches, instituting any significant organizations, acquiring great worldly knowledge and academic distinctions or for exposition of great administrative excellence, his life was a true testament of his faith, humility and charity. Beyond the Church administration, he was a bishop concentrated more in celibacy, holy life and compassion to poor. He was a man revered by not only his community people but also by all with out any caste or class for which a befitting evidence is that the land for the Tabor Dayara was offered him by a Hindu leader. His blameless life, ascetic vigor and compassion to poor had attracted people of all religion.

Very explicitly, the power of prayer is needed for the Church above all her excellences in its organization and governance in order to lay all the plans before God and to seek for a proper guidance and choices especially in the period of crisis as the prophet Samuel did behind the Kingdom of Israel. The tearful prayers of this saint, while sitting at a corner of the Pothenpara Dayara off Pampadi Town, was a great source of inspiration, courage and for providences from God for the Church and to all its layers of administration and leadership. He was a minister who considered hardship and suffering of this world as blessings from God. He had the vision of spirituality not to alleviate the hardships but to glitter in the hardships by Grace of God.

This great sage of Tabor was born in the traditional Karingamattom family in Pezhamattam near Pampadi to Chacko of Moolakkara house and Ilichi of Veloor Vellikkottil house. The child was baptized and given the baptismal name as Kuriakose. He grew up in a very pious family, which had to undergo a lot of financial hardships. The family atmosphere and special prayer and worshipping practices at home had greatly strengthened young Kuriakose in his faith. As a child, Kuriakose was the apple of the eye to all in his village.

At the age of five, as per the custom of that time, Kuriakose started his alphabetic education under the discipleship of Madathil Asan. That was an age in which it prevailed racial and occupational untouchabilty. Young Kuriakose was very compassionate with low caste people and he made very thick friendship with low caste and downtrodden co-students. It was his great fervency to carry coconut, sugar-candy, molasses etc. to the school and distribute it among his untouchable friends.

Though his father desired Kuriakose to be a priest, he had great doubts whether he could afford even the dress-code and a decent living for his son as a priest. Nevertheless, Kuriakose humbled himself, accepting the call from God and obliged to the desire of Mar Dionysius, to get ordained to the order of a priest. At the age of fourteen, Kuriakose was ordained to the first order of deaconate in February 1989 at Pampadi Church. Subsequently Dn. Kuriakose joined Old Seminary, Kottayam, for theological studies under the discipleship of Vattasseril Geevarghese Malpan and Madathil Alexander Malpan. He had learned Syriac language, preliminary theological lessons and sacramental procedures from this Seminary. As per the instruction of Malankara Metropolitan, the deacon had proceeded to Parumala Seminary for further theological studies. During that time, his father expired and the family plunged into an aggravated financial crisis.

On July 8, 1906 Dn. Kuriakose was ordained as priest and on the very next day as a Ramban by Murimattom Paulose Mar Gregorios [Later raised as the First Catholicos] and consecrated the first holy Qurbana at Pampadi Church. Kuriakose Ramban started living at the Pampadi Church. During this time he initiated to renovate the Church building and annexed a small room to it. His modus of operandi for the construction work was that he first announces his desire and civil plan of construction after Sunday Parish service. On the very next day onward, a battalion of volunteers come to the site and starts collectively to do the work. Ramban will provide sufficient food to all for the full day. He was getting a lot of food item from the villagers as gift and all the food was distributed to them. His primary teacher Madathil Asan conducted a preliminary elementary school in the annexed room of the Church building. Ramban had great pleasure to provide sweets and noon food to all the children studied in that school.

Further, Ramban Kuriakose was appointed by Mar Dionysius to assist the Manager Kallasseril Punnose Ramban [later consecrated as the Third Catholicos] at Parumala Seminary. His stay at Parumala with St. Gregorios had a great influence in his life to follow the footsteps of this saint to mature in his ascetic and prayerful life. Rambachen was assigned also to teach Syriac to the Deacons in the Seminary. In addition, he was engaged for drafting reply letters on behalf of Malankara Metropolitan. Ramban Kuriakose was blessed with a neat and beautiful curved italic handwriting in Syriac and Malayalam. He always used to write with a special feather pen dipping in ink. As a personal quality of Ramban, he was very prompt in writing his daily diary, which exposed his grandeur and discipline of his life.

Ramban Kuriakose had the rare opportunity to consecrate holy Qurbana in Syriac as per the instruction of Mar Abdulla Patriarch and in his presence while the Patriarch was living in Old Seminary at Kottayam on a visit to Malankara. Also Ramban had the fortune to minister the ailing Catholicos Mar Basalios Paulose during his last days.

As the Ramban wanted to detach himself from any worldly desire and wished to submit himself to God's will through prayer and contemplation, it was his great desire to build a small Dayara to seclude himself from the worldly personal attachments and to live a prayerful ascetic life of humility and devotion in the continuous presence of the Lord. However, finance was a great hindrance for fulfilling his dream. Understanding the desire of his disciple, his teacher Madathil Asan offered him a piece of land at the Pothenpara forest which was abode of even wild animals that time. With this offered land and with support of Cheriyamadthil Jacob Kathanar, with a great dedication in Lord, Ramban dug a well and constructed a small thatched cottage at this place as a Dayara. During the dawn, Ramban started the day's work without any money in his hand for paying the workers except his great confidence in Lord that there will be some way God will show before the day end. Very astonishingly on every day, some how or the other, Ramban received sufficient money to pay the workers for the day, out of the magnanimity of villagers who loved him and he loved them. Before moving to Dayara, Ramban took three days fasting prayer. He himself consecrated Dayara with the help of Cheriyamadam Jacob Kathanar. He moved to this unprovided and unfurnished Pothenpara Dayara and started living there.

Ramban had many visitors to this remote Dayara. It was a practice of Ramban that he will not sent anybody from the Dayara without giving sufficient food irrespective of cast or creed of the visitor. Vattasseril Mar Dionysius visited the Dayara and he was the one who suggested the name of Dayara as Tabor.

Ramban's faithful servant and steward was a deaf man who lived with him and attended him for more than 65 years. He was of extraordinary grasping power and of great devotion to his master. He was very normal except his deafness. This incapability was never a hindrance for communication as they fluently convened each other through sign language and gesture. This deaf man loved his master so much and considered the Dayara and its promises as his own. He had a great contribution for the horticultural uplifting of the Dayara premises, gardening and planting coconut trees and mango trees. He brought water from a distant pond for irrigating the trees. He was very bold to express his innocent views to his master and reciprocally Thirumeni was so affectionate to this deaf and granted him the full freedom in the Dayara. With the contact of this prayerful ascetic sage the deaf also was very pious with prayer, fasting and other sacred observances. Also this faithful servant had self-assumed faithfully and honestly the stewardship of the Dayara, especially to feed and satisfy all class and creed visitors, which was habit of Ramban from childhood.

1929 Feb 16, Kuriakose Ramban was consecrated as a Bishop with title of Gregorios by Basalios Geevarghese II. He was the first Bishop consecrated by the third Catholicos as he himself was consecrated as the Catholicos only one day before this. It is noteworthy that the Amshavadi given to Kuriakose Mar Gregorios during the consecration was that which belonged to Parumala Mar Gregorios, the first saint of Malankara. As the life of Pampadi Mar Gregorios was also mostly in the same footsteps of the Great saint at Parumala, this heredity of the Amshavadi is to be considered as shawl inherited by Elisha from his master Elijah.

The newly consecrated Metropolitan was given the charge of Kottayam Diocese. Also he was designated as the Guidance Consultant for the general activity of the Church, being the Trustee of the Catholicate Trust initiated in 1934. Church administration was not a big concern for this Yogi. However to administer he did not have any hesitation even. All were alike to him without any partiality and he did not bother to achieve any worldly qualifications, as his wisdom was the faith in God.

Pampadi Thirumeni was very particular to observe the traditional sequences and to use lyrical wordings of all worshipping services. If anything went wrong any time, he grieved about it and corrected it. He was very strict in his tri-hour prayers, lent and fasting. All those who came in contact with him, had the great experience of their burdens of worldly life fanned off by the wind of the presence of this Godly man. It was a very special experience for each who came in contact with Thirumeni as he shared everybody's concerns and worries; helping, praying and inspiring them. He put the needs of all whom he meets before his own. He had setup a model for the compassion to all his co-beings. He shined as the champion of the poor. He considered the compassion to the poor as equal and most required as the prayer. Virtually he hungered to feed the hungry, denounced the luxuries to cloth others, and lived in a poor state to uplift the downtrodden, lived in huts to house the houseless and thrown away everything for everybody, exactly as the good Samaritan spent everything what he had to the wounded man he came across. He was a man who had done all his charity work hidden from the mass. However many who experienced of his warmth and compassion had reported many experiences with Thirumeni.

Though he had gone through utter poverty in his childhood and faced with day-to-day hardships for the maintenance of the Dayara, Thirumeni had a strong faith in the providence from God for 'daily bread'. He never bothered to store anything for the next day, as he believed in true sense of the essence of Lord’s Prayer ‘give us our daily bread.' One day a poor harijan old lady approached in the Dayara and requested him some help for her one-day meal. However there was nothing available in the Dayara to give her, money or material, except the rice for the dinner. Thirumeni ordered his deaf servant to give the remaining rice to the old lady. The deaf being very practical and innocent and concerned about Thirumeni was defiant and informed Thirumeni that the rice available will only be sufficient for the day's dinner and that cannot be shared with the visitor. The servant vehemently opposed Thirumeni and kept adamant to his views. Eventually he was forced to oblige to his master and the full rice was given to the poor visitor. No sooner the poor lady left the Gate of Dayara, few people entered the gate with rice, vegetables, coconuts etc. enough for more than a week, as a share of some function in the house of a rich man of the village and send same to Thirumeni. This was a great witness even to his deaf steward about the assurance of the confidence and dependency on Lord.

Another incident of his compassion is revealed through an incident reported. A beggar who used to beg around Pampadi Township collapsed on the road. Somebody had informed Thirumeni about this incident. Immediately, Thirumeni rushed to the Pampadi town and had seen the fainted man in the shed near the road and made arrangement to treat him and give all the help. However, the man died after few days. Thirumeni took hold of the corpse and brought the dead body to the Pampadi Valiya Church and buried there with full honour as his own churchman.

He was helping many poor students for the studies with out informing anybody. His charity pattern was without trumpeting it in any way. Once a college student of Tiruvalla wrote Thirumeni about his difficulty for paying his fees. Thirumeni replied the boy that he will help him to pay the fees. Somehow Thirumeni forgot to arrange the fees till the last date. On the last date he suddenly remembered about his promise to the boy and sent a man personally to Tiruvalla to pay the fees in time.

Once a beggar inflicted with leprosy came to Dayara for begging and stood under a tree near the gate. While seeing the beggar standing off, Thirumeni beaconed him to come into the Dayara. The leper was afraid to move forward. As he was hesitant to come near, Thirumeni went to the gate and caught hold of his hand and brought him inside the Dayara, seated him, gave food and followed him to bid him at the gate.

Once a young man approached Thirumeni for some job or some help to maintain his family as he lost his job. Thirumeni had nothing with him to offer that man. Thirumeni searched around and as he could find anything to help that man, he told him to take the milking cow in the Dayara. But the man hesitated to take the cow, as it was the source of milk for the Dayara inmates. Then Thirumeni ordered his deaf servant to untie and give the cow to the man. Even then, the man was not ready to accept the cow. Eventually Thirumeni himself untied the cow and gave it to the man. Very reluctantly the man was forced to carry away the cow and the family was maintained by selling the milk of that cow.

Once there was an epidemic plague in the Kunnamkulam area. He had rushed to Kunnamkulam and started serving the affected people and desired to live with them and extended all possible services and shown his willingness even to die with them. He visited house by house, prayed and extended all the helps to them. Many people prevented Thirumeni to go to the epidemic area. But nobody could prevent this human lover as he ventured and continued his services saying, 'Let me die if God will so'.

Sermons given by Pampadi Thirumeni were awe inspiring and simple in nature. His main theme was to utilize with all materialistic blessings and abilities to love each other with out any boundaries or limit to all human. His preaching was well manifested by his own life pattern. He always reminded the people to be aware and conscious of four things: death, judgment, salvation and hell.

Through his Kalpana and sermons he strongly condemned liquor addiction and desired to relieve the families from this social evil. Through his ecclesiastical letters and through Parish administrations, he identified all infected with mortal diseases or insanity, orphans, handicapped, poor widows etc. in the whole diocese and extended personalized services to each. He gave special instructions to all parish priest to visit the families and inform him of the about the needy ones.

Once the Aprem Patriarch enquired about Pampadi Mar Gregorios to the Third Catholicos Mar Basalios Geevarghese II. The Catholicos, with out any hesitation, opinioned about Pampadi Thirumeni and told to the Patriarch that Mar Gregorios is the second in holiness at Malankara after Parumala Mar Gregorios. The spiritual strength gained by prayer, fasting and charity was the sole investment of Pampadi Thirumeni. During the service of Holy Unction given to Pampadi Thirumeny, Augen Mar Timoteos talked about him as a man fully lived heavenward while he lived physically in this world. He lived a life totally unaware about this world, and virtually he was travelling to heaven throughout his life time.

He exposed same personality to poor, wealthy, low class, high class and all type of people and all kind. He did not have any type of discrimination to anybody. This was the very approach of his personality. Thirumeni had many poor visitors both Christians, non-Christians and that too, young and old. If any habitual visitor is missed to meet him for a day, he was keen to personally enquire about him.

Due to severe fasting and night prayers, Thirumeni became sick before ageing. 1965 March he became sick and bedridden and hospitalized. Augen Mar Themotheos gave Holy Unction to Thirumeni. April 5, 1965 this great sage of Tabor breathed his last and his tomb is at Tabor Dayara.

[Compiled for LOL by: Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew, Philadelphia, USA.]
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Titus I Metropolitan was earlier the vicar of Maramon Parish nearly 25 years. He started many spiritual rejuvenation programs including organization of retreats and semi-fasting. He was well versed in theology with a good command of language, and delivered inspiring sermons. In 1856, Thozhiyur Metropolitan Mar Kurilos consecrated him under the Episcopal title Titus Mar Thoma Metropolitan.


Titus, the youngest of Abraham Malpan was born in February 1843. Metropolitan Mathews, who returned from Mardin few weeks after Baby Titus's birth, was happy to baptize his young cousin and when the Metropolitan, on taking the beautiful baby in his arms for baptism is reported to have said, “These young feet will one day wear the red cassock". Baby Titus was a quiet well-behaved infant and was the darling of the family and neighbours. Before he was four years old, disaster struck the family. His father, Abraham Malpan, passed away depriving him of the paternal affection. So he was utterly devoted to his mother.

After the death of Abraham Malpan, Mathews Mar Athanasios was the eldest male member of the family. Titus was six years younger than his brother Thomas. After his primary education at Maramon, Metropolitan Mathews took Titus to Kottayam to study at the Seminary where he joined his brother Thomas and Metropolitan's nephew Cherukara Philipose. After a while Thomas and Philipose were ordained as Semmasans (Deacons) respectively, as Titus was a few years thereafter. The young deacons studied Syriac and Theology at the Seminary while they studied English and other subjects in the CMS School nearby. The principal of CMS School was Rev. Richard Collins, a linguist, who mastered Malayalam and Sanskrit and was the author of a Malayalam dictionary. There were other scholarly teachers both in the Syrian Church, Anglican Church and civil life in Kerala and elsewhere. He maintained his friendship and closeness with his schoolmates all his life.

Metropolitan Mathews, appreciative as he was of the education he had received in Madras, decided to send the two brothers Thomas and Titus there for further studies. So the brothers went to Madras in 1860. The journey was not as hazardous as in the student days of Metropolitan Mathews, because by then there was a train service from Shoranur to Madras. A manservant accompanied them and they stayed in rented house. Thomas and Titus studied at Anderson School but were in due course afflicted by health problems, Thomas with rheumatism and Titus with ophthalmic infection. Because of their health problems they returned to Maramon after 2 years, but they benefited immensely from their experience in Madras.

Deacon Titus pursued his study of Syriac, and church traditions and rituals under Cherukara Philipose Malpan. Metropolitan Mathews ordained him in Maramon as Titus Kasissa in 1859, and was quite happy to accept the assistant vicar-ship of Maramon parish under the senior priests in the parish, Ravoor Achen and Kolathakkal Achen. As he was well versed in theology with a good command of language, he could give inspiring sermons in the church. Such priests were rare in the Church. A number of priests did not have good learning of the Bible and knowledge of Church liturgy and were only able to conduct the rituals of worship. So Titus Kasissa brought a fresh enthusiasm among the clergy. As he was a celibate, an extension was added to the family house of Kuzieth to accommodate him. He was not burdened with the affairs of the family, which was taken care of by the able elder brothers Mathai and Kochukoshy. His mother was around to look after preferences in food. So he could devote his time for reading, meditation and pastoral work.

Subsequently he became the vicar of the parish and he devoted nearly 25 years for the development of the parish. He started many spiritual rejuvenation programs in the parish. He gave leadership in organizing retreats where semi-fasting and meditation was practiced. In all these efforts he received the full co-operation of the senior clergies like Edathua Kizhekkethalakkal Mathen Kathanar, Chengannoor Kottarathil Thomas Kathanar and Kallupara Kalemannil Yako Kathanaar. Due to his poor health he could not accept all the invitations to preach at different parishes that came to him, but he went to as many as he could. He was a regular teacher in the Sunday School. During the Easter lent he celebrated Holy Communion on the 36th day of lent at Kuriannur, which was a part of Maramon parish, and the people of Kuriannur area looked forward to his ministrations.

In 1856, Thozhiyur Metropolitan, Mar Kurilose IV and his Saffragan consecrated Titus Kathanar under the Episcopal title of Titus Mar Thoma Metropolitan.

In the field of education, the activities of the government and private agencies were limited. There were a number of primary schools in the parishes of the Mar Thoma Church and the management of these schools was in the care of the secretaries of the Metropolitan. These schools provided minimum literacy. Illiteracy was more acute among women. The missionaries belonging to the C.M.S., L.M.S (London Missionary Society) and Basel Mission were making a difference in this field. There were no secondary schools when Titus Mar Thoma began to reign in spite of the fact that his predecessor Thomas Mar Athanasios was keen to start English (Secondary) Schools. As a result of the efforts of Thazhath Achen, the prime site of the present Mar Thoma Seminary in Kottayam was acquired from Pukadiyil family. The Church leaders decided to start as English School there and Metropolitan Titus laid the foundation in May 1890. Similar efforts to acquire a site at Tiruvalla were being made. Later middle schools were started in Kozhencherry and Eraviparoor. Mrs. Nicholson and Miss Macbean wanted to start a High School for Girls. Metropolitan encouraged their efforts and the Nicholson Syrian Girl's School; the prestigious secondary school with a good boarding home was established in Tiruvalla.


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